Sleeping Between Cultures: An Autoethnographic Exploration of the Co-Sleeping Practices of an Immigrant Mother in Canada

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Zhou, Xia
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Mount Saint Vincent University
In North America, the prevailing sleep arrangement for infants and young children emphasizes sleeping independently which differs from the co-sleeping norms embraced by many cultures worldwide. This autoethnographic study explores the researcher’s experiences with co-sleeping practices as a new immigrant mother in Canada. Employing an autoethnographic approach, this research intertwines personal narratives and reflections to navigate the complexities of co- sleeping within the context of cultural adaptation. Reflecting on the researcher’s co-sleeping journey through the lens of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development, the study examines the intricate interplay between personal experiences, social norms, and the broader cultural contexts, examining how these factors influenced the researcher’s co-sleeping decisions and experiences. This research advocates for a more diverse understanding of co-sleeping practices, recognizing cultural perspectives to develop guidelines that promote safety while respecting the cultural richness immigrant families bring to the Canadian context. Through its autoethnographic lens, this study contributes to a deeper understanding of the cultural dynamics shaping parenting practices and underscores the importance of cultural sensitivity in healthcare and policy frameworks.